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A Little Thunder and No Snow - Elizabeth Unexplained
Lots of data but no answers
A Little Thunder and No Snow
I read a number of Mommy blogs, nearly all of which warn that three can be a worse age for tantrums than two. I was feeling very lucky because the first half of three had been so nice with Margaret. In particular things had gotten a lot better after she started preschool. She clearly needed the stimulation, and she learned a few key skills, like telling us, “I need help,” when she wants help with something. As it turns out, it was too good to last.

The holidays hit, and with them came the tantrums. These are thermonuclear tantrums that can last as long as an hour. I had been hoping that it was just the holiday disruption, but they are still here. I’m still holding out hope that it might be in part due to my sub-par parenting skills during the first trimester of pregnancy and things will improve once I hit the second trimester and no longer feel like I have mono and a stomach flu at the same time. That might be too much to hope for.

The tantrums are illogical, unpredictable, and can be set off by the least little thing. The other day she had one because I wouldn’t make it snow. Yes, apparently the deplorable lack of snow in greater Boston this winter is all my fault (you’re welcome). Logic is no help, I can’t help by try to sell her on the idea that Mommy can’t just make it snow outside whenever she wants. The tantrums are coming frequently enough that my frustration has been building, and there are times when I find the idea of shutting her in a closet to scream tempting, but I know that would be wrong so I don’t. Instead, after briefly trying to reason with her I turn my attention to Duncan, hoping that eventually she’ll get the idea that quiet children get attention from Mommy and screaming won’t her anything, much less a spontaneous snow storm. The tantrums do wear themselves out, and when she is calm again I tell her that I love her and give her attention and whatever she really needs. Some tantrums have been fizzling lately before they hit full force. This morning she started throwing one because she declared she wanted to help me take a shower as I was drying off and wasn’t happy that I would not get back in the shower. I was bracing for the worst, but after a few minutes of resolutely going about my morning routine the tantrum fizzled. I would like to think the approach is working, but it is still very frustrating. No doubt it’s equally frustrating for her. If only I weren’t so damn lazy about using my weather control abilities.

In the interest of fairness I should also mention that when Margaret isn’t vociferously protesting my failure to produce snow on demand she is an absolute delight to be with. We call have long conversations on the phone to her new kitchen, we make play-doh cakes, and she lets me do her hair. She’s good at sharing, is getting to be pretty good about putting her toys away, and always wants to be helpful. She’s everything I could have hoped for in a little girl and so much more. I guess three and a half is just a tough age.
4 comments or Leave a comment
enugent From: enugent Date: February 8th, 2012 07:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
My experience is that the tantrums don't start at 3, they start at 3 1/2. Margaret is exactly on schedule. (I was pregnant for it with Dorothy, too, but without the child in between. It sucked.)

There's a reason for the subtitle of the Ames and Ilg classic - Your 3-Year-Old: Friend or Enemy? (Their advice for 3.5 is to get as many babysitters as you can afford.)

I think you're taking just the right tack, though. Good luck getting through it!
countertorque From: countertorque Date: February 9th, 2012 01:00 am (UTC) (Link)
In our experience the root cause of just about every tantrum is a lack of sleep or a lack of food. Of course, the kid doesn't really cooperate in solving either problem. But, if we manage to get them to eat something it often makes things a lot better quickly.

I have learned a lot of patience from dealing with tantrums. They weren't easy lessons. I wish I could take a do over on that period.
psychohist From: psychohist Date: February 9th, 2012 04:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lack of food is definitely a factor in the Margaret tantrums I've dealt with recently. As you say, fixing that is not always so easy.
kirisutogomen From: kirisutogomen Date: February 12th, 2012 03:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's not really illogical to expect that you could make it snow. After all, you have the ability to vary the light level and the temperature indoors pretty much at will, and you can create localized precipitation in some places (like the shower or the sink), so it's not fundamentally illogical to expect that you might be able to do the same things outside as well as inside.
4 comments or Leave a comment